Frequently Asked Questions about the Beecentric Hive
Q: What is Beecentric Beekeeping?
Beecentric beekeeping is a bees-first approach to keeping honeybees. A beecentric beekeeper will approach their craft by learning about the natural behaviour of bees and then aligning their management strategies to align with those behaviours. Happy, healthy bees are productive bees. A bee’s first beekeeper will often ask “what are my bees trying to do and how can I support their efforts?”
Q: What are some examples of beecentic beekeeping practices?
- Keeping honeybees in bee-appropriate beehives.
- Small hive beekeeping.
- Natural comb in the brood nest.
- Allowing bees to control the ventilation in their hive
- Using and propagating locally adapted genetics.
- Using small hive entrances.
- Managing the hive in a way that maintains a natural hive structure.
- Providing extra insulation in the roof of the hive
- Leaving bees with honey, when possible.
Q: How does the Beecentric Hive Work with Honeybees?
Beehive design and management techniques should work bees and enable them to express their natural behaviours.
Inspired by the Warre hive, the Beecentric Hive uses 8-frames medium boxes that result in a slightly taller and narrower beehive. The number of frames is significant as the width of the hive matches the width of an overwintering cluster of bees. The Beecentric Hive reduces winter-starvation by stacking the honey above the overwintering cluster of bees where it is most accessible.
By using medium boxes for brood and honey, the Beecentric Hive is easier to manage and more versatile than using different sized boxes on the same hive. When filled with honey, each box weighs between 45 and 50lbs. There is no need for a queen excluder (though, nothing prevents you from using one) as frames of honey and brood are interchangeable. A single size box comes in handy when splitting a colony; transfer brood, pollen, and some frames of honey from an established colony into an empty hive box. There is no need to worry about mismatched frames and box sizes. Everything is consistent.
IMP screened bottom boards and Warre style top-quilt and vented roof ensures a proper balance between ventilation and insulation. Loosely filled with straw or wood ships, the screened top-quilt insulates while allowing moisture to escape. Unlike traditional solid inner covered, the insulated top-quilt prevents condensation above the bees. This feature is especially crucial for the overwintering success of your colony.
Built-in top and bottom entrances are sized to the preference of wild colonies and are small enough to defend easily and large enough to accommodate high traffic during honey flows.
Learn more at “What is the Beecenric Hive?”
Q: How Does The Beecentric Hive Compare to Warre and Langstroth Hives?
The Beecentric Hive is a modified Warre Hive that uses standard medium Langstroth frames or, if you prefer, the Beecentric Hive is an eight frame medium Langstroth Hive (sometimes called an Illinois Hive) with a screened bottom board and Warre style insulated top-quilt and vented roof.
The Beecentric hive strikes a balance between Warre’s beecentric approach and the versatility and accessibility of commercial Langstroth equipment.
For more comparisons between the Beecentric and a commercial Langstroth Hives read “5 Common Hive Problems and How To Fix Them.”
Q: Does The Beecentric Hive Use Top-Bars Or Frames?
The Beecentric hive uses standard medium Langstroth frames.
While the traditional Warre uses top-bars, the bees eventually fasten their comb to the sides of the hive which prevents their removal. In contrast, the bees attach their comb to the four sides of an empty Langstroth frame. As a result, the frames can be removed, inspected, harvested, swapped between boxes, or used to create splits.
Q: Does The Beecentric Hive Use Foundation?
One nice thing about Langstroth frames is that they can be used with or without foundation. The choice is entirely up to you.
Q: Does The Beecentric Hive Use A Queen Excluder?
A queen excluder is not needed to manage the Beecentric Hive as the queen naturally wants to keep the brood nest at the bottom of the colony.
Should the colony ever place honey in the brood or brood in the honey, individual frames can quickly be moved as needed; made possible by the fact that the brood and honey frames are the same. However, the Beecentric Hive is entirely compatible with commercially available eight frame queen excluders.
Q: Is The Beecentric Hive Compatible With The Flow Hive?
Yes. The Beecentric and Flow hives is compatible with the original flow hive. To create a far less expensive Flow Hive, you can add a Flow Box to the top of a Beecentric Hive. For my take on Flow Hives and how to use them with the Beecentric Hive read “Using A Flow Hive Super With A Beecentric Hive.”
Q: What Comes With My Beecentic Hive?
When you purchase a Beecentric Beehive, it will come with:
- Three eight-frame, medium hive boxes (used for brood and honey)
- One Warre-style insulated top-quilt with an integrated entrance.
- One Warre-style vented roof
- One IPM screened bottom board with built-in entrance and plastic insert
- Two entrance reducers (of two different sizes)
Q: Does The Beecentric Hive Comes With Frames?
Standard Langstroth frames are sold separately and are available assembled or unassembled at local pickup. I am not presently shipping frames as the extra weight is cost-prohibitive.
Q: Does The Beecentric Hive Ship?
Yes. The Beecentric Hive can be shipped to anywhere within Canada and the United States. All of the hive components ship assembed, with the excpetion of the three boxes. Flat-packing the boxes allows keep the cost of shipping down.
When the hive is received, the boxes are easily assembled with wood-glue and some brad or finishing nails. A detailed post on the configuration of the hive can be found here.
Q: When Will My Beecentric Hive Be Ready?
I take orders in late Summer for the next beekeeping season. Shipped beehives are sent in late March and early April. Beehives purchased for local (Edmonton) pickup are available between (March-April).